Massachusetts has a bill in the legislature that is targeted to expand its land based gambling projects. Republican State Representative Dan Winslow filled an amendment on Friday however that would allow for online gambling in the form of online poker.
According to Winslow, his amendment fits into the already proposed gambling bills and would provide an increase in state revenue, create multiple job opportunities and would give the public what it has been asking for, online gambling. Winslow said, “This one, I think, is a great opportunity for Massachusetts to take the lead. No state in the country has yet enacted legislation to authorize and regulate Internet poker.”
Winslow stated several justifications as to why we added the amendment as he discussed the details of the proposal. He pointed out that many accept poker as a game of skill thus separating it from other online casino games. He also added the bottom line reason that the people in Massachusetts are playing online poker anyway so it needs to be regulated.
Other details of the Winslow proposal is there should be 5 licenses awarded that will expire in 5 years. A 10% rake would be taken from every pot and of that 10% the state would receive 70%. A major difference in this proposal over some of the others being looked at is that there is no intrastate restriction. Anyone from anywhere in the world would be allowed to play.
Of course there is opposition who states the plan would be “reckless and irresponsible” and may even violate federal law. According to Treasurer Steven Grossman the introduction of online poker would “undercut the value of the three land casino licenses” that is also being considered in the main bill.
If passed however, a new Massachusetts Gaming Commission would be created and online poker could be a reality in Massachusetts by July 1, 2012.